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Zelenka, Jan Dismas Missa Sanctae Caeciliae ZWV 1
With this recording of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae (ZWV 1) and the motet Currite ad Aras (ZWV 166) two ‘firsts’ of ...
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- Author: Zelenka, Jan Dismas
- Catalog number: 167
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Zelenka, Jan Dismas Missa Sanctae Caeciliae ZWV 1
With this recording of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae (ZWV 1) and the motet Currite ad Aras (ZWV 166) two ‘firsts’ of Zelenka are presented: Missa Sanctae Caeciliae is his earliest mass composition, and Currite ad Aras is the first-known work written after Zelenka was sent to Vienna in 1716.
|2||Gloria in excelsis Deo||2:54|
|4||Gratias agimus tibi||3:06|
|6||Qui tollis, suscipe||1:20|
|7||Quoniam tu solus Sanctus||2:24|
|8||Cum Sancto Spiritu||2:10|
|9||Credo in unum Deum||2:45|
|10||Qui propter nos homines||1:36|
|14||Et unam, sanctam||2:35|
|15||Et vitam venturi sae||1:57|
|19||Dona nobis pacem||2:52|
|Currite ad aras ZWV 166|
|20||Currite ad aras||2:47|
|21||Tu, qui es plenus Spiritus||3:49|
|22||Fac peracta carnis vita||2:24|
Total time 52:49
Gabriela Eibenová /soprano/
Kai Wessel /alto/
Tobias Hunger /tenor/
Marián Krejčík /bass/
Jaromír Nosek /bass/
Prague Baroque Soloists
Missa Sanctae Caeciliae: Jan Dismas Zelenka (ZWV 1)
With this recording of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae (ZWV 1) and the motet Currite ad Aras (ZWV 166) two ‘firsts’ of Zelenka are presented: Missa Sanctae Caeciliae is his earliest mass composition, and Currite ad Aras is the first-known work written after Zelenka was sent to Vienna in 1716. As far as it is known, the premiere of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae was given in Dresden’s recently established Catholic court church on 22 November 1711. On 31 January 1712, the mass again was heard, this time in the presence of August II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. On that occasion Zelenka presented a petition requesting to be sent to Italy and France ‘in order to perfect myself in the solid liturgical style of the former and in the good taste of the latter’. Zelenka, however, was sent neither to France nor to Italy, but to the Habsburg capital where he was to study with the Imperial Kapellmeister, composer, theorist and teacher, Johann Joseph Fux (circa 1660–1741). Currite ad Aras was composed soon after his arrival there.
It comes as no surprise that the highly devout Zelenka would name his first mass in honour of Saint Cecilia, Patron Saint of Musicians. His setting in G major would be transformed through at least three or more revisions throughout his life in Dresden because Zelenka would frequently return to earlier compositions in order to improve and adapt them for changing performance conditions. In Zelenka’s case this became a necessity due to the great developments taking place within the personnel of the famed music ensemble of the Dresden court. In or about 1727 Zelenka revised the opening bars of his Missa Sanctae Caecilia. The vocal and instrumental scoring of certain movements was altered, and many new indications of performance practice were added. In due course, the mass would be extended when a musical setting of the ‘Benedictus’ was included. Amendments reflect changes in the personnel of the Dresden Hofkapelle and a gradual shift away from the French manner of performance—a style beloved by August II which flourished under the leadership of concertmaster Jean-Baptiste Volumier—to a preference for the musical style of Italy which was enjoyed by the Saxon Crown Prince Friedrich August and his wife, Maria Josepha. Today, the principal source of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae is kept at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek — Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden. This is a complex document whose original working has many crossed-out passages, while overlays in different ink show alterations to notation and instrumentation. Pieces of manuscript pasted into the score obliterate sections of the original composition, certain movements are revised, and there are newly-composed additions.
In 1712, Zelenka took a total of seven movements and sections from Missa Sanctae Caeciliae into his oratorio Attendite et videte (ZWV 59) which was performed during Holy Week 1712 at the Holy Sepulchre of St Salvatore, the principal church of Prague’s Clementinum College. Reconstruction of the score of this little oratorio, which was badly damaged during World War II, was made possible because reference could be made to the score of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae. Moreover, a set of nine parts for the Credo of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae today is kept in the valuable music collection of the Prague Kreuzherren (the Order of Knights of the Cross with the Red Star). This source, which came from the music collection of the former Kapellmeister of Prague’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Christoph Gayer, reflects the earliest working of the Credo of the mass, and it almost certainly was based upon a set of now-missing parts from Dresden. This source seems to have entered the Kreuzherren collection when Gayer’s widow sold his private collection after his death in 1734.
At some stage a handsome copy of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae was made by Philipp Troyer, a violinist and copyist from Lower Austria who previously had shared accommodation with Zelenka during their years in Vienna. This beautiful score, which reflects an earlier stage (perhaps the original) in the genesis of the mass, has an undated title page which reads ‘Serenissimo ac Potentissimo | Poloniarum Regi | FREDERICO Augusto. | Electori Saxoniae etc. | Domino Domino | suo |Clementissimo humillimé | D. D. D. | Subjectissimum obsequentissimum humillimque mancipium | Joannes Dismas | Zelenka. Camer: Musicicus’. Troyer’s copy shows the original introduction to the Kyrie, which Zelenka later altered, and it gives information missing from other sources. Among other things, Troyer’s score shows an almost complete mass with a brief setting of the Sanctus followed by the instruction ‘Agnus Dei sicut Kyrie‘ meaning that the opening through-composed Kyrie eleison-Christe eleison-Kyrie eleison was to be re-texted with the concluding words of the mass. Over time, the solo obbligato instruments for the arias gradually changed. For example, Troyer’s score shows that ‘Domine Deus’ from the Gloria was set with instrumental solos for viola da gamba and for a violoncello and not, as Zelenka noted at a different time, for violas and a muted bassoon (’Fagotto con sord:[ino]’). This aria later was omitted from the Gloria and re-used by Zelenka for a setting of the ‘Benedictus’, a movement not included in the original score. Unfortunately, Zelenka did not suggest replacement music for ‘Domine Deus‘, thereby creating an hiatus in the setting of the Gloria. A further example of change is seen in the aria ‘Et unam sanctam’ which originally was set for a solo soprano in the key of A minor. At a later time, however, Zelenka transposed the movement down one fourth to E minor and replaced the solo soprano with an alto vocalist.
Thanks to the reporting in the Dresden Diarium Missionis by Jesuits from the Province of Bohemia who served in the Catholic church in the Dresden palace, it is known that, apart from Zelenka’s Missa Sanctae Caeciliae being heard on 22 November 1711, the performance was given by French musicians of the court: ‘The music for the sung mass, recently composed by Zelenka who also is a royal musician, was performed by the King’s French musicians in honour of St Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr.’ Then, on 31 January 1712—the day when Zelenka dedicated the mass to August II—a simple report noted that ‘During the Sung Mass, the king heard the [Low] Mass celebrated by the Father Superior.’ From Zelenka’s title page to the Missa Sanctae Caeciliae, we learn that the powerful Count Anton Egon von Fürstenberg (1656–1716) was Zelenka’s first patron in Saxony, and it was he who made the occasion of the performance in the presence of August II possible. Zelenka wrote: ‘Missa S: Caeciliae: To the Most August Friedrich Augustus, King of Poland (Prince Egon de Fristenberg [von Fürstenberg], Royal Governor of Saxony, my principal Patron and Master prepared the way for this)…’. Zelenka also relates that his teachers were his former patron in Prague, Count Hubert von Hartig, and the Dresden Kapellmeister, Johann Christoph Schmidt. On 22 November in 1712 the Dresden Jesuit Superior, Father Georg Klein, must have expected St Cecilia again to be honored with music, but he was disappointed: ‘During their Mass, the musicians did not perform music. Can it be that they forgot?’  he wrote. Soon after, however, on 30 November (Feast of St Andrew) Father Klein noted: ‘During Sung Mass the King’s French musicians performed solemn music which they had been rehearsing for some time. On their invitation, the Governor of the Serene Prince [Prince Egon von Fürstenberg] was present.’ This can only refer to yet another performance of the Missa Sanctae Caeciliae, this time in the presence of the Governor of Saxony.
Perhaps the most surprising revelation from these reports is that these early performances of the mass were given by French musicians of the Dresden court. Did they include the musicians from the French ballet ensemble of the court who were part of the Bande Französische Comoedianten, an ensemble established in 1709 to provide French opera, theatre, ballet and comedy for the Dresden court? Might French musicians from the Hofkapelle also have been involved in these early performances? Their leader, the Spanish-born violinist Jean-Baptiste Volumier, claimed to have been educated at the court of France. Perhaps woodwind players from the court’s Bande Hautboisten also joined in. Whatever the case may have been, these performers would have pleased August II whose taste was heavily influenced by the French culture he absorbed during his Grand Tour when he spent time at Versailles and in Paris. Missa Sanctae Caeciliae probably was first heard performed at the low pitch of a’≈396Hz, with French bowing and articulations, and the accents of French vocalists singing the Latin text.
The next mention of the Missa Sanctae Caeciliae in the Diarium is on 22 November 1729, by which time Zelenka was carrying the main responsibilities for the music of the Catholic court church. On this occasion, the Diarium reports that it was he who was in charge of the music. He again was named as carrying out this duty in 1731. For the feast of St Cecilia in 1734, however, the Diarium noted that Zelenka had written to request that the high altar be adorned with eighteen candles. Perhaps this was a thanksgiving for the formal appointment as church composer to the Dresden court that he had received two months earlier in September.
Missa Sanctae Caeciliae demonstrates that when Zelenka arrived in Dresden he knew of recent developments that had taken place in Naples for settings of the mass text. The ‘Neapolitan’ mass of the Baroque era was a composition for vocal soloists, choir, and instruments set over a number of movements of three basic types: choruses composed in the stile antico (such as the 7-part choral fugue ‘Qui tollis’ of the Missa Sanctae Caeciliae, which came to be a much-admired work long after Zelenka’s death); choruses in which instruments have an independent role through the provision of ritornellos, and solo arias and duets operatic in style. Zelenka scored Missa Sanctae Caeciliae for SATB soloists and SATB choir (except for the 7-part ‘Qui tollis’, which requires a SAATTBB chorus), violins 1 and 2, viola, 2 oboes (strangely, they are missing from the score of the Credo), and a basso section that included organ, at least one bassoon, cello, and violone. Perhaps a viola da gamba and theorbo also were part of the continuo section. The original score contains numerous alterations and amendments which bear witness to a musical composition constantly in flux. Thus, it is not possible to claim that a definitive version exists for Zelenka’s first mass: the instrumentation and vocal writing of this work altered in accordance with the abilities of the musicians available to him at particular points in time, reflecting the changing styles of performance that took place in Dresden between 1711 and 1734. Nevertheless, after 1734, whenever a mass was sung for the feast of the Patroness of Musicians, the Diarium recorded that it was Dresden’s new Kapellmeister Johann Adolph Hasse who composed and directed the music, and not the Dresden court church composer, Jan Dismas Zelenka.
The score used for this recording of Missa Sanctae Caeciliae was prepared by Libor Mašek and Adam Viktora. This version in eighteen movements is based mainly on revisions and additions made by Zelenka in circa 1727.
Currite ad Aras: Jan Dismas Zelenka (ZWV 166)
In contrast with Missa Sanctae Caeciliae, very little information is available about early performances of Currite ad Aras. On the title page Zelenka reveals the purpose of this offertory, as well as the place and date of his composition: NB Potest hoc Offertoriū[m] cantari de Beata V: Maria, vel de qua-cumq[ue] alia Sancta et Sancto. | ŕ Vienna. li 13 Juni: 1716. | di Giov: Disma | Zelenka. At the conclusion of the score Zelenka added a dedication ‘A: M: D: G: B: V: H:’ (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Beatae Virgini Mariae honor) and he again dated the work: ‘Vienna 13 Jun˙ 1716’. Thus, Currite ad Aras was composed in 1716, not long after Holy Week when Zelenka might have been in Prague. In that year, the third of his sepulchre oratorios, Deus Dux (ZWV 60) was performed in the Clementinum college during Holy Week, probably on Good Friday (12 April). Once more, this work was commissioned by Zelenka’s former patron and teacher, Count Hubert von Hartig.
Zelenka set the text of Currite ad Aras in C Major over three movements for tenor soloist and SATB chorus. The accompaniment is scored for violins 1 and 2, viola, and basso continuo. The outer choruses (the final chorus is a four-part fugue) surround an aria for the tenor soloist. While Currite ad Aras was intended for performance on feast days of the Blessed Virgin, Zelenka’s title page reveals that this offertory also could be used for the feasts of other saints. Today, the autograph manuscript is kept in Dresden where, in former times, twenty-nine parts accompanied the score —an indication that the offertory Currite ad Aras had become part of the repertoire of Dresden’s Catholic court church.
Janice B Stockigt
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
The University of Melbourne
Prague Baroque Soloists
Lubica Habart, Jan Hádek, Simona Hurníková, Martina Kuncl Štillerová, Eleonora Machová,
Veronika Manová, Petr Ščevková, Jiřina Štrynclová, Simona Tydlitátová
Lydie Cillerová, Ján Gréner
Libor Mašek, Hana Fleková
Ondřej Štajnochr, Lukáš Verner
Markus Műller, Adam Masters
soprano – Gabriela Eibenová, Yvetta Fendrichová, Stanislava Michalcová, Pavla Radostová, V, Dora Rubart-Pavlíková, Kamila Zbořilová
alto - Jana Dvořáková, Jiří Kukal, Nadia Ladkany, Pavla Štěpničková, Eva Zbytovská
tenor - Hasan El Dunia, Ondřej Holub, Jakub Kubín, Stanislav Mistr
bass - Martin Blaževič, Jaromír Nosek, Petr Svoboda, Martin Vacula